Saturday, September 17, 2011

#407. Executive Decision (1996)

Directed By: Stuart Baird

Starring: Kurt Russell, Halle Berry, Steven Seagal

Tag line: "Fasten your seat belts"

Trivia:  According to John Leguizamo in his autobiography, Steven Seagal physically attacked him during filming in an effort to scare the cast and crew

Executive Decision is a crazy movie, one that only gets crazier as it goes along. It's also a heart-pounding, adrenaline pumping action film, featuring a motley crew of unlikely heroes. 

To secure the release of their leader, who was recently taken into custody by the CIA, Arab terrorists hijack a plane heading from London to Washington, DC. But David Grant (Kurt Russell), an analyst for the Pentagon, believes the hijackers have a much more deadly agenda.  Grant is convinced that a stolen shipment of Russian nerve toxin is also on board the plane, enough to wipe out all of Washington, and that the terrorists plan to release it by crashing the plane once its over United States soil. To prevent this from happening, Grant will join forces with a team of commandos, led by Col. Austin Travis (Steven Seagal), who'll secretly dock with the in-flight aircraft, secure the toxin and eliminate the terrorists. Though the docking doesn't go according to plan, some of the team, including Grant, do manage to board the plane, and must enlist the help of one of the flight's stewardesses (Halle Berry) to gain the upper hand on the terrorists. 

Kurt Russell's Grant is the central hero of Executive Decision, but its a heroism thrust upon him by circumstance. An analyst who spends the majority of his day thumbing through reports, Grant joins the mission against his will, and is none too comfortable with the prospect of risking his life. In fact, you might say he's a bit of a coward. But when fate intervenes, he'll rise to the occasion. Also along for the ride is Dennis Cahill (Oliver Platt), the engineer who designed the technology for in-flight docking. Cahill also wasn't supposed to be on the plane, and even tries to convince the others to surrender to the terrorists when their initial plan goes south, but in the end, he'll also dig deep, taking on a particularly dangerous assignment. In contrast, Halle Berry's stewardess (whose name is Jean) does everything she can to disrupt the hijackers, even before she knows the commandos are on board. To protect the identity of an armed federal Marshall (Richard Riehle) posing as a passenger, she hides the plane's manifest, knowing full well that doing so may cost her her life. 

Yes, Executive Decision is outlandish, and sometimes hard to swallow, but you'll get so wrapped up in its story that, odds are, you won't even notice how silly it all is. Bursting at the seams with action and thrills, as well as a few twists you honestly won't see coming, I think you'll be surprised at how entertaining Executive Decision can be.


Anonymous said...

I remember when this came out. All the commercials made it seem like Steven Seagal was the central character, but he really is gone very fast.

DVD Infatuation said...

I was definitely surprised by that little plot twist. I was expecting him to carry at least half the film's action scenes.

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